How’s your Saturday going? Good? Mine too. The sun is out, there’s cool air flowing throughout greater Boston and we have fireworks on deck tonight in the ol’ hometown; something that makes the DOB (daughter of Brownie) very happy. The plan was to watch the Bruins bundle the Rangers, enjoy the redneck air show and have a few frosties around the fire pit: a typical fall day in New England.
I decided to take a quick spin around the interwebs and see what’s new in the hockey world over the last few days. I assumed it would be the just the same old same old: Toronto says THIS is the year, The Rangers still have no leadership, Jack Eichel is still being held hostage in the bowels of Keybank Center and the Bruins are a wagon: you know, your typical preseason chatter.
But then through the haze, I see a glow.
No, not that, but close. It was the Spotlight of Stupidity and it was being broadcast straight out the Ukraine Hockey League. Once again the UHL (not to be confused with the United Hockey League – shoutout to my boy Hal) has covered itself in glory by handing down the biggest gong show punishment in recent memory. I’m sure you all know the story by now, but if you don’t, you can check out our most recent podcast episode where we discussed it in our “Heroes and Zeroes” segment.
This “league” handed down a punishment of a 13 game sussy, which wasn’t really a 13 game suspension under the leagues’ rules. From Reuters:
“Under the UHL’s rules, only three games of Deniskin’s 13-game ban are mandatory, and the player can avoid serving the remaining 10 games if the club pays a 50,000 hryvnia ($1,900) fine, or 5,000 hryvnia per game.“
So, you can pay off racism in the Ukraine now? Got it cool, cool. The league actually defended itself, (which was a wild move in of itself) by saying: “For every violation there is a different cost. We haven’t had a single racism case to punish. This is the first such incident.” Way to set the standard. What an absolute joke. To the shock of no one at all, this wasn’t received well across the hockey world and the real world.
The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) who were probably thrilled to be out of the news said that there was “no place in sport or society for such a blatantly racist gesture”. The NHL Players’ Association called it a “deplorable act” while some individual players/personalities decided to release their own statements.
From Akim Aliu who is the Chair of the Hockey Diversity Alliance:
Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, the UHL decided to double down and prove themselves even more incompetent. Earlier this week the league decided to fire their general manager, Eugene Kolychev who says he was let go over a Zoom call by the league after being outspoken AGAINST racism.
Yes, you’ve read all that correctly. The guy trying to stand up for what’s right and calling out the league (THAT HE’S THE GM OF) for their lack of severity in punishing a disgusting racist act is fired. So now, after all the international pushback and anger, the league has backtracked and said that it was a typo and it wasn’t supposed to be a suspension OR a fine, it was meant to be suspension AND a fine. Damn autocorrect is a motherfucker.
So to sum up for you all keeping score at home. Jalen Smereck has stepped away from the league. From his personal IG:
The General Manager of the league who tried to hold the league accountable has been fired.
The racist piece of shit (who by the way was to much of a chicken dick to fight Smereck) gets some bullshit suspension and didn’t have to face the music on the ice, and he will be back skating in a few weeks. This spineless fuck also put up a half-ass apology and then took it down within the day as it was widely ridiculed as insincere.
How as a sport and a world are we supposed to move forward when this shit still goes on? How is Smereck supposed to get back on the ice for this league when the governing body that’s supposed to protect and support ALL it’s players; did little to nothing to have his back.
I hope Jalen Smereck has a long fulfilling career. I hope that we can make this a better sport for our kids and future generations.
I’m sorry that this happened to you Jalen.